Waxwing Puzzle Co | Bishop’s Cipher
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Bishop’s Cipher

Bishop’s Cipher is a combination of a substitution cipher and transposition cipher useful for extracting a message from any collection of text.

As with any substitution cipher, the units of text are altered according to a key, and like a transposition cipher those units are then arranged in a complex order. Once deciphered Bishop’s Cipher yields a an anagram, a jumble of letters in which the coded message in contained.

Rather than the units of ciphertext corresponding to letters, the symbols in Bishop’s Cipher correspond to the digits 1-9 and 0. Thus, the first step in deciphering the code is to apply the key and receive the numbers.




Each symbol will come in a pair (a numerator and denominator) so each symbol unit will yield a pair of digits (or more if the symbols refer to a double or triple digit number, for example, the symbols below correspond to the numbers 11 and 25). The symbols should be read left to right and top to bottom like a book. The upper numbers (the numerator) are one unit, as are the bottom numbers (the denominator).

The second step is to apply those numbers to the collection of text to which they correspond. The numerator number corresponds to the vertical line of text counting from the top. The number in the denominator corresponds to a specific letter in that line counting from the left. So the above symbol would correspond to the 25th letter on the 11th line of text from the top.

The final step is to rearrange the collection of letters you receive when you apply the cipher to the text. An anagram generator might be helpful at this point.